/ 14 May 2021

Two high profile wins for the regulators

Crown Resorts could open the doors to its $2.2 billion Barangaroo casino on Sydney Harbour by the end of the year. That’s what the chairman of the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) says after the company and its potential suitor The Star agreed to introduce cashless gambling, stop courting international high-rollers and ban indoor smoking at its casino. ILGA’s Philip Crawford yesterday said Crown had “achieved a lot” since the findings of a damning inquiry were released in February.

UMM… WHAT INQUIRY?
Geez, you’ve got a memory like a goldfish…The NSW gaming regulator’s inquiry looked at Crown’s plans to open its brand new Sydney casino after serious money laundering claims and links to criminal syndicates took off in 2019. Former Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin said Crown was “not suitable” to operate a casino in the state and needed a management overhaul if it was to get a license. Chief executive Ken Barton left the company, as did other execs and board members, and yesterday the regulator gave the company’s new management team points for progress. “The old management, I reckon, wanted a fight,” Crawford said. A lot is happening with Crown… Regulators will meet in the next fortnight to discuss 2 takeover bids by rival casino group The Star and US-based equity firm Blackstone. Crown is also the subject of 2 ongoing royal commissions in Victoria and Western Oz. Watch this space…

AND WHAT’S THE OTHER ISSUE?
Well, just because you asked… Australia’s biggest telco Telstra was yesterday fined $50 million by the Federal Court after it admitted to selling mobile phone products and plans to Indigenous customers in rural and remote communities who didn’t understand the T&Cs and couldn’t afford them. After an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the fine was Australia’s 2nd-largest penalty imposed under our consumer laws behind Volkswagen’s $125 million. “I am deeply and personally disappointed that we have let you down,” Telstra boss Andy Penn said. “We should have picked this up earlier.”

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